A more open European Union means much freer movement of people and goods. In the past, smuggling over the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland was rife. But since 1992, the border has been less important because of changes in EU laws. Today, shops in Newry, Northern Ireland, will accept euros as well as sterling, making them almost part of the eurozone. Some of the advantages and disadvantages of having a border on the doorstep are explored.
Using the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland as an example, students could discuss the positive and negative aspects of living close to a border. What changes do students notice when they travel to a different country. Why do they think some goods and services might be cheaper? Has the European Union reduced these factors? Students could look at borders around the world and discuss why people might want to get into a different country and why certain borders have very strict controls. Do borders sometimes cause flashpoints or economic problems?